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“Gran Electrica”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Latin/Mexican Brooklyn Cheap Eats Good

If you haven’t heard yet, the folks at DUMBO’s Gran Electrica (the same owners as Colonie) are offering quite a lovely spot for summer drinking and eating. The restaurant’s oversized backyard deck and garden is strung with twinkling lights and filled with a lush botanical garden’s worth of greenery: trees, leafy ferns, blooming flowers, it’s all there. The Tikki-styled bar pours tart and tasty margaritas in several varieties (try the one laced with jalepeno syrup), along with assorted tequila cocktails, and cold Mexican beers on tap served in frosty pint glasses. In my estimation, it’s an instant vacation, or at least that’s how it’s felt to me every time I’ve sunk into one of their garden chairs under a Brooklyn sky. Cradled by a dark summer’s night, somehow the underside of the Brooklyn Bridge during construction actually feels dreamy.

On the menu by chef  Sam Richman (formerly of The Fat Duck and Jean Georges) are a variety of tacos ($8-$13, two per order) worth diving into without hesitation. There are pork, beef and a veg version, but the fried fish are my favorite: short batons of white fish fried up inside a cylinder of crunch, topped with white sauce and cabbage with your choice of four himemade salsas ranging in mild (made with sesame) to fiery (only chiles in there, hun.) Mariscos also make a good bet, in particular a glorious platter of scallops dressed in jalapeño, herb puree, and sweet cucumber water ($12).

One of the more fun dishes on the menu is their Torta Ahogada ($11), a robust submarine sandwich made from a sturdy crusty baguette that’s filled with hunks of slow-roasted roast pork then submerged in a strong-swimmer’s-only-sized pool of chile-rich ahogada sauce, and decorated here and there with strands of sweet onion. It’s a sandwich quite common in Guadalajara, but one I’ve never encountered here in Brooklyn or Manhattan to be honest.

To eat your Torta, you’ll be served a pair of plastic gloves, tied up neatly with a piece of twine. I skipped the gloves. I like to feel my food, and I certainly don’t want to treat it like an in-patient at a clinic. The sandwich is a whole lotta fun and it deserves to be held by your ungloved hands. The sauce has a sweet heat to it, more a careful tan than a red blistering burn, and the pork eats up that sauce (more would be even better, in my estimation). This ... [more, click below]

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